D.C. City Council considers changes to Residential Parking Permit program

Less than a dime a day - $35 per year. That's how little D.C. drivers with Residential Parking Permits pay to park their cars on neighborhood streets.

But this time next year, the cost of an RPP could change dramatically.

D.C. City Council members discussed that and other possible changes at Friday's public oversight roundtable.

Both residents and transportation experts seem to agree that the District's RPP program is too cheap, too easy to cheat and it needs reform.

The question is how?

After holding a series of parking summits, Terry Bellamy, D.C.'s Director of Transportation, says he's developing a comprehensive plan to improve the Residential Parking Permit program.

"This time next year, through our outreach, we should be able to bring something back," Bellamy says.

The most common suggested solutions are to limit the number of RPPs per household and to shrink the size of RPP zones to discourage cross-zone commutes.

The most controversial suggestion comes from those who believe the fee needs to go up to match market value.

On, private parking spaces rent for hundreds of dollars per month.

The last time the RPP fee went up was to close a budget gap. And advocates say it can be done again.

With the current fee at about nine cents per day, Councilmember Mary Cheh says the program doesn't even cover the cost of maintenance of asphalt.

If the council decides not to increase the fee, Cheh says the council could jack up the price on second and third vehicles registered to the same household.

Councilmember Jim Graham says he's concerned about the impact on low-income residents. In his Ward One, one out of four residents live below the poverty line, he says.

And he says higher fees will only push more of those families out of the District, which he said would be bad for diversity.